Robert Lewandowski bagged a brace as FC Barcelona returned to winning ways in LaLiga with a 3-0 win over Villarreal on Thursday night.
Result: Barcelona v Villarreal
Date: 20 October 2022
Venue: Camp Nou
Barca manager Xavi made five changes from the defeat against Real Madrid in the El Clasico, as Marcos Alonso, Jordi Alba, Gavi, Ferran Torres and Anssumane Fati were recalled.
Blaugrana were patient on the ball in the early stages, as they looked for spaces around Villarreal, who stayed compact behind the ball and the visitors were disciplined enough to deny the Catalan chances.
However, Unai Emery's charges were eventually cut open on the half-hour mark after Alba went through on the left flank and played decisive square pass to Lewandowski, who made cheeky turn in the box to create space and fired a home low strike into a gaping net.
Barca put their foot on the gas and Lewandowski doubled their lead and grabbed his brace four minutes later with a curling strike towards the far post after he cut inside the box.
The hosts did not give Villarreal time to regroup, as Fati made it 3-0 for Xavi's men a couple of minutes later with a tap-in on the line from a rebound after his initial shot came off the post from a square pass by Torres.
The Catalan side made the Yellow Submarine chase the ball in the early stages of the second stanza and it looked like an uphill battle for the visitors to get back into the game, as they could not get their foothold on the game.
However, Barca wanted to maintain their rhythm and dominance with a double change in the last 15 minutes for fresh legs upfront, as Lewandowski was rested in favour of Raphinha and Ousmane Dembele replaced Fati.
The changes had an immediate impact, as Raphinha should have made it 4-0 for Blaugrana three minutes later after a cut-back by Dembele found him unmarked in the centre of the six-yard box but he miscued his shot wide.
Barca continued to enjoy a one-way traffic in the dying minutes as Pedri also came close to making it 4-0 with a low diagonal drive from range that missed the bottom corner slightly wide.
Blaugrana remained second on the log, three points behind leaders and rivals Real Madrid, who also thumped Elche 3-0 a day prior.
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